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Did I buy a fake Pancolar 50/2?
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:03 pm    Post subject: Did I buy a fake Pancolar 50/2? Reply with quote

Hello mflens gurus,

I'm mostly a lurker here and not many posts so these images might not show up but I bought what I thought was a really mint Pancolar 50/2 on evilbay and after a little post purchase research I think I might have bought a fake?

The grip and graphics don't look like any other Pancolar 50/2:


The aperture blades overlap on front side..I think they are not supposed to do that?


Back of lens..Exakta mount:


I got it for "free" after ebay bucks so i didn't pay a whole lot for it Smile but I'm just wondering if I got the real thing or a "fake" as I suspect. If it's a fake I'll just buy another real Pancolar 50/2 and keep this one as a oddity in the collection. I've taken a few test pictures and they do look very similar to online pics I've seen of the Pancolar 50/2 with it's distinctive bokeh.

thanks,
--mike


PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one truly is interesting. My first reaction was: it's real. But then i looked at aperture ring, DOF scale, rubber grip and i am doubting more and more.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fake, these have been seen before, sometimes labelled Exaktar.

http://www.ihagee.org/top02.htm

Quote:
Exaktar = Pancolar (or not?) = real Pancolar?
I have seen photos of a lens called an "Exaktar". It is a 50mm f2.0 lens with an automatic diaphragm. It looks absolutely identical to the Carl Zeiss Jena 50mm f2.0 Pancolar except for some cosmetic differences (e.g., shape/ texture of the focusing and aperture rings). I have seen some copies of old ads where the Pancolar is shown on an Exakta, but the "Exaktar" is shown on an Exa II.

I assume they are the same lens. Was this all a marketing gimmick? Did Ihagee (or the importer) not want to show the same CZJ lens on the top of the line Exakta as on the entry level Exa? Are they the same quality, or were the "Exaktars" seconds or of lesser quality?

It has always been my understanding that Exaktar lenses of the later "Pancolar' style are Japanese imatations of Zeiss lenses. I can say though, that the ones that I have tried have produced very acceptable results. There have been lenses marketed under the Exaktar name for quite a few years in various configurations and from a variety of manufacturers. Most, if not all, are actually quite fine optically,which is typical of Exakta lenses in general.

I have an automatic 50mm 2.0 lens which says "Pancolar" on it, but does not have any other identification on it--no "Exaktar" or CJZ or "aus Jena"...no nothing. I assume it is Zeiss because I imagine they had a copyright to the use of the term "Pancolar". The depth-of-field indicator is interesting as it consists of two "calipers" which move outwards or inwards on the scale, similar to the Schneider lenses for the Retina Reflexes. If this is the same lens that you speak of, let me know. I have not been able to identify it otherwise. However, I can say that it's a fine lens.

I think you have a fake Pancolar lens. It sounds like your lens is really a 50/2 Exaktar. All of the fake Pancolars I've seen have serial numbers in (or close to) the 650XXX range. Does yours have a similar number? None of these lenses are marked Zeiss or aus Jena. A certain US Exakta importer sold these lenses for a few years because the Pancolar was a more desirable lens. I don't know if they charged more for the "Pancolar" but they surely sold faster.
The importer had a machinist manufacture decorative rings with the "Pancolar 2/50" engraving, plus serial number. The decorative ring covers the original Exaktar ring by simply screwing it down into the filter ring threads. Sometimes, the original Exaktar ring is underneath the Pancolar ring. They're an interesting rarity in the Exakta field.

Here's a picture of a fake Pancolar with the fake ring removed - http://members.aol.com/basmpu/pan.jpg

I believe that the Exaktar external automatice lenses were indeed produced in Japan as an imitation of the Pancolar. I have three styles, a chrome version that somewhat resembles a Retina lens with ridges on the focusing ring running front to back, a black one which is very close in looks to a black leather Pancolar but with diamonds on the focusing ring instead of leather and a possible counterfeit Pancolar.

The Exaktar lenses are somewhat different than a Pancolar even though are made to resemble them. The differences are:
1) The front of the lens is somewhat recessed compared to the Pancolar.
2) The lens coating is yellowish.
3) The diaphram blades overlap in the front not the back.
4) The back of the external automatic is pressed metal not diecast.
5) The top of the external automatic shutter release has more ridges around the edge than the Pancolar.
I haven't tested mine but they do produce acceptable results when I used them outside.

The most interesting Exaktar I have appears to be a Pancolar counterfeit. When I bought it, it looked exactly like the black Exaktar lens but had a Zeiss Jena Pancolar bezel (trademark nameplate ring around the front of the lens). After a couple of years of owning it, I was playing around with it and low and behold the bezel screwed off to reveal the Exaktar name plate underneath. I thought at first the bezel was simply off a real Pancolar. However, the Exaktar counterfeit bezel is flared to fit over the lens so as not to reveal the Exaktar nameplate. I screwed in a real Pancolar bezel that I had in my junk box. It was flatter and didn't fit properly. It left a gap that slightly revealed the Exaktar name. Also the curves of the Pancolar name on both lenses are slightly different. It appears to me that the bezel was intentionally produced to make a counterfeit Pancolar.

You're probably right about the reason for changing the rings - they didn't want to get caught. That certainly gives us another variety of fake Pancolar to collect! I have 3 different fakes - all have the same style Pancolar bezel but the Exaktar barrels have various cosmetic differences.

I imagine the fake Pancolar was "imported" by the Exakta Camera Company into the US in the early 60's since the lens is featured on an Exa II in their ads.

The lens you pictured is almost exactly like mine, though I have not checked to see if the Pancolar front is removable. The serial # is 650684. The focusing ring is the same "diamond" type grip. I can't tell from the picture, but mine has both feet and meters for the distance scale. It also has the pressed metal back for the external automatic diaphragm unit.

See Exakta Obscurities page 48 (HR)


Been mentioned here before too:

http://forum.mflenses.com/the-mysteries-of-the-japanese-exaktar-pancolar-2-50-t54454.html


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How's the image quality?


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fake Sad


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that it has the real pancolar 2/50 name ring, but the fake pancolar/exaktar body.As mentioned in the post Ian linked most "fake" serial numbers start with 65 and on the name ring they have the PANCOLAR or EXAKTAR name only, no Carl zeiss Jena.

I would'nt really call them "Fake" in the true sense of the word, but a product with a mysterious background Very Happy They are mentioned as far back as 1967 in a Seymours catologue.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are definitely fake Mo, it's a Japanese lens masquerading as a Pancolar. They didn't come from the maker in Japan with that Zeiss name ring on them, they had a name ring that read 'Exaktar' and no mention of Zeiss. The Zeiss name ring was added by the importer after they had arrived in the US. Probably underneath this ring you will find the original Exaktar ring is still there.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am working off the seymours catolgues that sold the Exakta gear in the US. I believe there has to be a link somewhere between Ihagee Germany and whoever manufactured these lenses in Japan.This is only speculation of course on my part, as I have not found any paperwork to back it up.

The above image of the orginal posters lens shows a Real pancolar name plate on a "fake" body. I have only come across 3 other pancolars starting with the 62 serial number (always looking for more) and they are a mixed bag, of 2 praktinas and one M42 mount 2/50 pancolars...the genuine ones with the Carl Zeiss Jena name marked in one form or another


Last edited by mo on Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:05 am; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, you guys are an awesome walking camera encyclopedia! Very Happy

David wrote:
How's the image quality?

It's not bad. I rather like it. Wide open there's a glow but it's pretty sharp.. Contrast is average and colors seem pretty neutral.

Test Pics taken with a NEX7...no edits except for resize on any of these images. I didn't take any shots stopped down unfortunately.

Wide open..


100% crop on focus spot


The bokeh.. pretty busy but the "real" pancolar 50/2 is also busy and swirly


low light picture of my Rollei 50/1.8 ISO1600


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one more showing the sharpness and the glow..

original resized only


100% crop of text.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless of how it performs you do have an interesting lens....is there another name ring under the ring it came with?

I think if you have better light it may perform better,I do like the first image though Smile


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah it will still look the balls hanging of a little nex Razz


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can spot the real Pancolar 2/50 pretty easily as it does not have a recessed front element - there is no integral shading in the barrel.

However - CZJ did make some of the exakta mount lenses in their later black barrel pyramid grip style - they're obscure and unusual but they are real.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, with that very slight softness and the APS-C crop factor, that's got potential as a snazzy portrait lens.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm uneasy about calling this lens a 'fake'. It may not have been made in Jena, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a fake - at least, not in the sense of being an inferior article deliberately intended to defraud the buyer. Let me try to explain.

There's a similar situation with how Zeiss binocular collectors have categorized the production of Zeiss Jenoptem 8x 30 glasses in Japan. Years ago I got into running fight with somebody in a binocular forum about this when he accused me of deliberately misleading prospective buyers on eBay by offering a fake when I put mine up for sale. I didn't care to be libeled and he and I (along with a few others) engaged in what became a meaningful discussion for several weeks.

The Japanese 8x 30 Jenoptems were commissioned by the then UK importer of East German (DDR) Zeiss products with the knowledge and acquiescence of the DDR parent company. The reason for having them made in Japan seems to have been lost, probably because the UK company involved no longer exists and nobody has yet bothered to root about in the Zeiss commercial archives. Nowhere on the instrument did it say 'Japan' and all the engraving was just like that on the previous Jena-made binoculars. We - the retail trade - noticed differences and the UK importer freely acknowledged the new source of production when questions were asked. The optical specification was the same as the German production, and the performance was in every practical sense, identical. In fact, in one sense it was better: the glass used by DDR Zeiss gave a slightly 'sandy' tint to the image, but the glass used by the Japanese sub-contractor was neutral. It was that characteristic that triggered our queries - my question to the agent was "How soon will you change the companion 10x 50 model?"

The DDR manufactured Jenoptem binoculars were marked Zeiss Jena, but they weren't actually made in the city of Jena. That never worried anyone. So far as the UK importer was concerned, having them made instead in a factory in Osaka or Tokyo or anywhere else was immaterial. The design was the same, the end product was the same and the quality was, from the consumers' viewpoint, identical. What was there to be bothered about? If the parent company was happy enough to have its name on the merchandise, then all was fine.

Mo wrote earlier that "I believe there has to be a link somewhere between Ihagee Germany and whoever manufactured these lenses in Japan.This is only speculation of course on my part, as I have not found any paperwork to back it up. " Given the experience with the binoculars, I'm confident that she's absolutely correct in her thinking. If there are surviving Ihagee or Seymour archives, that's where the answer is going to be. Or maybe even in the Zeiss records.

I think we have to be careful before we use the label 'fake' in connection with photographic equipment. We may be uneasy about a 'Zeiss' product being out-sourced, but it certainly did happen and it doesn't follow that there was any dishonest intent..


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is an interesting example a simple pair (well not so simple) of Binoculars, and followed by several weeks of in depth discussion...phew!


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mo wrote:
That is an interesting example a simple pair (well not so simple) of Binoculars, and followed by several weeks of in depth discussion...phew!


Zeiss binocular collectors sometimes display an astonishing 'esprit de corps' and tenacity of viewpoint. Even more than our Zeiss photo-enthusiasts here- Wink


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scsambrook wrote:
I'm uneasy about calling this lens a 'fake'. It may not have been made in Jena, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a fake - at least, not in the sense of being an inferior article deliberately intended to defraud the buyer. Let me try to explain.

There's a similar situation with how Zeiss binocular collectors have categorized the production of Zeiss Jenoptem 8x 30 glasses in Japan. Years ago I got into running fight with somebody in a binocular forum about this when he accused me of deliberately misleading prospective buyers on eBay by offering a fake when I put mine up for sale. I didn't care to be libeled and he and I (along with a few others) engaged in what became a meaningful discussion for several weeks.

The Japanese 8x 30 Jenoptems were commissioned by the then UK importer of East German (DDR) Zeiss products with the knowledge and acquiescence of the DDR parent company. The reason for having them made in Japan seems to have been lost, probably because the UK company involved no longer exists and nobody has yet bothered to root about in the Zeiss commercial archives. Nowhere on the instrument did it say 'Japan' and all the engraving was just like that on the previous Jena-made binoculars. We - the retail trade - noticed differences and the UK importer freely acknowledged the new source of production when questions were asked. The optical specification was the same as the German production, and the performance was in every practical sense, identical. In fact, in one sense it was better: the glass used by DDR Zeiss gave a slightly 'sandy' tint to the image, but the glass used by the Japanese sub-contractor was neutral. It was that characteristic that triggered our queries - my question to the agent was "How soon will you change the companion 10x 50 model?"

The DDR manufactured Jenoptem binoculars were marked Zeiss Jena, but they weren't actually made in the city of Jena. That never worried anyone. So far as the UK importer was concerned, having them made instead in a factory in Osaka or Tokyo or anywhere else was immaterial. The design was the same, the end product was the same and the quality was, from the consumers' viewpoint, identical. What was there to be bothered about? If the parent company was happy enough to have its name on the merchandise, then all was fine.

Mo wrote earlier that "I believe there has to be a link somewhere between Ihagee Germany and whoever manufactured these lenses in Japan.This is only speculation of course on my part, as I have not found any paperwork to back it up. " Given the experience with the binoculars, I'm confident that she's absolutely correct in her thinking. If there are surviving Ihagee or Seymour archives, that's where the answer is going to be. Or maybe even in the Zeiss records.

I think we have to be careful before we use the label 'fake' in connection with photographic equipment. We may be uneasy about a 'Zeiss' product being out-sourced, but it certainly did happen and it doesn't follow that there was any dishonest intent..


Interesting story, however, the case with this fake Pancolar is quite different.

What we have with the Pancolar is a cheap Japanese lens made to look like a pukka Zeiss Jena item. However, the maker had no intention of defrauding anyone as they never put the words Zeiss, Jena or Pancolar on it, they simply labelled them Exaktar and copied the exterior styling, this is not making a fake.

Where the fraudulent aspect comes in is after they were imported into the US. The US importer or one of the resellers supplied by that importer commissioned a US machine shop to make fraudulent Zeiss Jena Pancolar name rings which they then added to the Exaktar lenses in an attempt to pass them off as pukka Zeiss Pancolars. They clearly are not Pancolars, the performance is inferior and if the same lens was sold in another mount without the fake name ring and Zeiss-like styling it would be a much cheaper item than a Pancolar. Zeiss had nothing to do with this fraud, neither did the maker of the lens in Japan.

So it is perfectly fair to label this Japanese Pancolar a fake as that is what it is and the intention of the seller in the US was to mislead the buyer. It is the addition of that fake Zeiss Jena Pancolar name ring that changes the case from merely a similarity in styling to one of outright fakery and fraud.

I imagine if Zeiss Jena had found out about this, then the company responsible for adding the fake name rings and putting them onto the market would have found itself in litigation or at the very least, cut off from any official supply of Zeiss Jena products.


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:

I imagine if Zeiss Jena had found out about this, then the company responsible for adding the fake name rings and putting them onto the market would have found itself in litigation or at the very least, cut off from any official supply of Zeiss Jena products.


Ian - you raise a very relevant and interesting point here, and one which takes me right outside my admitedly very limited knowledge of this particular case.

It stikes me as highly likely that Zeiss could hardly have failed to become of aware of any such blatent infringement of registered trade marks or patents and would have been eager to act accordingly in such circumstances. The firm did have a reputation for, very properly, seeking to protect its commerical rights. Can any of our USA members recall reading of such litigation, I wonder?


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe all that happened was a cease and desist order was sent by Zeiss and production of these fakes stopped? Or is 1967 part of the time when Zeiss Jena didn't have legal rights in the USA to the Zeiss names and that had an effect on why these fakes were able to be sold?


PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far as I know the trademark in the U.S. was not controlled (directly) by Carl Zeiss Jena. An importer would sign on to be a distributor (if they were lucky enough the sole distributor) for the brand in their region. This meant that there might be several importers of Zeiss products - but not all of them could sell these with the Zeiss name on them. This became especially complicated by the East/West nature of Zeiss, which lead to lenses having the Tessar or Zeiss name machined off of them by some importers.

If you look at the early Prakticas for instance, you would have a large store who would buy Praktica FX cameras from the official importer, but then they would also buy Prakticas through an unofficial importer, at a lower price, but screw their own name plate on over the Praktica engraving. They weren't allowed to sell the "unofficial" Praktica as a Praktica because they didn't have the right to use that trademark in the U.S. - only the official importer did. This was definitely true in the 1950s, but I'm not sure if this was still a common thing in the 1960s.

The vast majority of the fake Pancolars simply use the Pancolar name, and do not have Zeiss or Jena on them. Which suggests an importer was just exploiting their right to the trademark, without crossing the line of mislabeling the origin of the product. It's very strange to see this lens which actually has "Carl Zeiss Jena" engraved on it, which is blatant deception.